Free First Class Next Month: Signing Up for Airline and Hotel Programs

Hey there, you're reading an outdated post! The updated series from April 2015 can be found here.

This is the second post in a monthlong series. Each post will take about two minutes to read and may include an action item that takes the reader another two minutes to complete.

Nuggets 7/20/12

I'm busy preparing for the first ever live seminar in Honolulu that starts in 10 hours, so I'll summarize a few interesting nuggets you may have missed.

We all get jealous when we hear that other people have been targeted for better sign up bonuses than the best publicly available credit card offers. Thepointsguy has a way to check whether you've been targeted for any Chase offers lately.

Avios Surcharges on LAN Flights intra-South America

I love Avios. Avios have incredible uses like 4,500 Avios domestic trips within the US on American Airlines flights. Or how about combining an Avios award with an AA award to construct free stopovers outside the US on AA awards or to get almost free oneways to Hawaii.

But, I hate the surcharges that Avios awards entail. Surcharges of hundreds of dollars--in some cases more than $1,000--make Avios worthless to me for transatlantic and transpacific awards.

Luckily they don't charge surcharges on domestic awards on American Airlines.

Specific Example of Free American Airlines Award Stopover Outside the USA

Yesterday, I posted about getting free stopovers on American Airlines awards outside the USA. Hopefully I opened a few eyes, and I certainly caused some confusion. So I'll give a concrete example of getting a free stopover outside the USA on an AA award with screen shots.

This award will go from Los Angeles to Shanghai with a stopover in Tokyo.

You Can Get Free Stopovers Outside the USA on American Airlines Awards

There is a trick that can be used to get free stopovers outside the USA on American Airlines awards in certain situations, and I don't just mean 23 hour layovers. Most people probably think that's impossible, since one of the four rules all AA stopovers must comply with is:
1) Stopovers must occur at the North American International Gateway City.

How to Get Almost Free Oneways on AA Awards If You Don’t Live at an International Gateway City

Update: The trick in this post doesn't work anymore since American Airlines has eliminated all free stopovers on awards as of April 2014.

Yesterday's post greatly expanded the number of places you can get a stopover on American Airlines award by combining an AA award with a cheap Avios award. I'm sure many of your minds jumped to the big question: if you can get a cheap stopover almost anywhere, can you get a cheap oneway too? Yes!

We got great value out of the almost free stopovers outlined yesterday.

Tampa to London in British Airways Club World (Business)

Anatomy of an Award: Booking this Trip

AA First Class: Los Angeles to Tampa

BA Business Class: Tampa to London (LGW)

A Day in London: Gatwick to London to Heathrow to Paris

When booking an award with AA miles, you cannot select your seats on BA planes until 24 hours before departure. About 21 hours before departure, I logged into and gave my six digit confirmation code. Almost all the seats had been selected, but I still had some choice.

I checked the seatguru map for the plane I was flying, a 3-class Boeing 777.

British Airways Not Showing Up as a Membership Rewards Transfer Partner

Edit: Thanks to the commenters who checked the Membership Rewards site ad found that the ability to transfer between MR and Avios has returned at a 1:1 transfer ratio.

Just now at 10:40 AM Paris time, 4:40 AM ET, and 1:40 AM PT, I logged into Membership Rewards to see if the 50% transfer bonus between Membership Rewards and Avios had really ended.

A Compete List of All Avios Redemptions from Dallas (DFW)

Check out the similar lists I made for Los Angeles and New York City.

Below is a list of every oneworld alliance flight from Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) flown by British Airways, American Airlines, Iberia, Japan Airlines, and Qantas. I have also included non-oneworld partners on which you can book flights with Avios, in this case only Alaska Airlines.

The list is divided into International routes, Hawaii routes, and Domestic routes. Within each group, the routes are listed from most Avios required to fewest.

The Five Types of Frequent Flier Miles

There are five basic types of frequent flier miles. I'll detail each, including how best to take advantage of them. Then I'll explain why it's important to diversify across the types (not just across frequent flier programs.)

1) Region-to-region based miles. American, Delta, United, US Airways, etc

Region-to-region miles are the most common type of miles. These miles can be redeemed according to award charts, so a flight from North America to Europe costs a certain amount of miles regardless of where in North America and where in Europe and regardless of the (valid) routing.